Seyyed of Quarters 15 (6)

Memories of Iranian Released POW, Seyyed Jamal Setarehdan


2016-11-19


Seyyed of Quarters 15

Memories of Iranian Released POW, Seyyed Jamal Setarehdan

Edited and Compiled by: Sassan Nateq

Tehran, Sooreh Mehr Publications Company

‎2016 (Persian Version)‎

Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


 

The next day I packed my holdـall and went to dispatching base. I hid myself away from Moghadam’s and others’ eyes and stealthy got on the bus and sat down into the seat of the second last row, right over the rear tires of bus. That row of seats was a little higher than the others, because it was placed over the tires. Suddenly Moghadam got on the bus. I filled with horror. He looked at passengers one by one, like someone who is looking for something, until he reached the back of the bus. He gave me a stare.

  • Get up!
  • Who, me?

He firmly said: "Yeah, you."

I got up with fear. Since the seat was placed on the bus tires, my head hit the luggage rack. He said: "go down."

  • Why?
  • You little boy want to go to the front to do what?

I said, "I'm taller than you!"

  • Go down and don’t take our time.

Meanwhile he was called. He went down and stood beside the bus. Their speaking dragged on. All of a sudden, I saw that he forgot me and the bus are moving. I walked on air. I felt more safety and peace as buses gained distance.

It had darkened when we got to the general staff of district 5 in Tabriz. We all went into a mosque. We were eating bread and cheese when my father entered the mosque. I was startled to see him. He took my hand and dragged me behind himself without saying anything. We were driven to the edge of road by one of troop’s Toyota. My father raised his hand for an ambulance which was passing.

  • Brother, can you drive us to wherever you go?
  • I'm going to go to Sarab, let's get on.

We had dinner in a roadside tea house. Ambulance driver dropped off us in Sarab and from there we got on a passing car and went home.

Days passed and my father didn’t allow me to move away. He was careful constantly lest I go out of the shop. One of local shopkeepers, who were called Mr. Ammi, had given one of his shops to Basij members. We had changed it to local Basij base. At nights we got together and run ‘halt and inspection’ and patrolled in neighborhood. We had named our base ‘Shahid Chamran’ and I was in charge of advertising and the member of neighborhood base.

***

In February 1984, again I tried to go to the front. There was no disagreement when I registered my name. In dispatching day, I got on the bus unbeknown to my parents, and went to Tabriz along with Ibrahim Rezaei and Mansour Mollazade. Rezaei was married and Mansour and I were young and single. Rezai had a boy and at that time his wife was pregnant. The same day we were all given military uniforms. We slept the night and wore the uniforms in the morning. The buses had arrived and we were waiting for their order to get on. I had found a uniform in my size after much searching. Rezai’s army boots weren’t fit for his feet and Mollazade’s tunic was two sizes too large for him. One of my pens had been left in my pocket. My father arrived when I was putting the pen into my tunic pocket. I was dismayed. Mansour Mollazade said, "Now that your father has come for you, go back with him."

"Come back, bro! God willing, next time you can come." Ibrahim Rezaei said.

I had no choice. I couldn’t bring myself to return, however, I didn’t want to cry in front of them and begged my father. "Bro, Now that you’re going back, give me your boots." Rezaei said.

I put off my army boots and gave them to him and took his. Mollazade also took my tunic and gave me his. I delivered the tunic and boots to the supplies department and returned to Ardabil with my father.

***

The radio announced that warriors of Islam carried out an operation in Majnoon Island. "If I'd sent," I said to myself, "I had already taken part in the operations with them."

A few days after operations, we were informed that Ibrahim Rezaei and Mansour Mollazade have martyred[1]. With tearful eyes we set to work to prepare their welcoming and funeral ceremony. Installing placards and banner lasted until three o’clock in the morning.

The next day, we went to Mollazade’s and Ibrahim Rezaei’s house. Rahim Rezaie, cousin of martyr Ibrahim Rezaei, had stood in front of door. We offered him our condolence after we came out of Rezaie’s house. Rahim said with a smile: "May God gifts you too such a destiny!"

Sheikh Mohammad Sadeq Jafari was the imam of the mosque. My friends and I prayed behind him in the mosque and listened to his spiritual and moral lessons. We prayed behind Seyyed Hassan Ameli, if once Jafari was not in the mosque. If Seyyed Hassan Ameli also was not in the mosque, another person led praying. Jafari had said: "If there was no leader for praying, choose the one whom you think he is better than you."

When Jafari or Hassan Ameli[2] preached, KhabazAhsani was all ears. He listened to them so carefully as if he is going to take an examination half hour later. His name in the birth certificate was Shahrzad, but he changed it to Mohammad Reza. Attending in mosque lectures and his studies had made him as a person with mystical understanding. Many times we jokingly called him Mullah. When Jafari and Seyyed Hassan weren’t in the mosque, we prayed behind him.

Hojjat al-Islam Jafari liked Seyyed Hassan Ameli. Seyyed Hassan studied theology in Qom, and each time he came to Ardebil, Jafari asked him to be the leader of praying.

At 1985, I went to the general staff of district 5 of Tabriz for the third time. Everything was ready for dispatching, when I heard from the loudspeaker of staff: "Brother Seyyed Jamal Setarehdan, visit the office."

I turned pale as I entered the office. My father was there. "I’ve come to take him." Turning to one of in charge, my father said.

The man put his hand on my father’s chest, pushed him, and said: "step aside, sir, he himself knows what to do!"

My father did not say anything. I was offended. I put my hand on his chest and said: "You yourself step aside."

He said angrily: "If you didn’t want to be sent, why you came?"

I replied: "that’s my business. This man is my father, he asked me to come back, and I'll do it. Who are you?"

This time also I went back with my father, but I was sad from the bottom of my heart and said to myself: "I wish he came a little bit late!"

A few members of our local base had been sent. I felt lonely and depression. As soon as it got dark, I rode my bicycle, went to our local base and drew up its roller shutter. I did not want it is closed in the absence of members. The base had become my trench; a trench which shouldn’t be empty. I turned on the light, put the compact cassettes of Koveitipoor’s and Ahangaran’s singing into the tape recorder, and said to myself: "In this way the enemies and hypocrites think that the Basij members have their wits about everywhere."

I picked up a rifle from base and patrolled in the alleys of our neighborhood with my bike. I came back two hours later. I turned off the light and the tape recorder, drew down the shutter, locked the door, and went home.

Along with Mohammad KhabazAhsani[3] and some of my local friends, I went to Sareyn and Sabalan for swimming and hiking. Sometimes we went to Haftـtan sport hall[4] for playing football. We all thought to enhance our physical fitness. KhabazAhsani and I often hummed a song which Ahangaran had sung.

  • Oh Ali’s mihrab, bloody site of Ali’s murder, the cause of Ali’s murder, Ali’s justice, ...

I liked this song. At nights, I turned on the tape recorder, put it beside my bed and listened to it when I wanted to sleep.

 

To be continued…

 


[1]. Ibrahim Rezaei and Mansour Mollazade had been captured during Khaybar Operation (on 22nd February 1984). Ibrahim martyred during captivity and Mollazade returned to Iran.

[2]. Ayatollah doctor Seyyed Hassan Ameli is the leader of Friday prayers and the representative of Supreme leader in Ardebil province.

[3]. On 19th February 1988, Mohammad KhabazAhsani martyred in operational area of Mavoot. His corpse remained there about five years, and on 15th October 1992, it was found by efforts of investigation forces. Shahid Mohammed KhabazAhsani has been buried in the Ghassemieh martyr’s cemetery in Ardabil.

[4]. After martyrdom of Kazem Dirin on 5th October 1982, in Muslim ibn Aqil operations, the name of Haftـtan sport hall was changed to Shahid Kazem Dirin.



 
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